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I grew up in the Bible Belt in a non-religious home. My family doesn’t talk about religion much but I found myself always a bit uncomfortable when staying at friends houses where prayer before meal, going to church or Sunday school, etc was expected. Even now as an adult, this can still be a tough road to negotiate living in Nashville as everyone just assumes you are religious and God fearing - it’s just a matter of which Christian faith you are. Glad to know this group exists! Does anyone else struggle with these “social norms”?

froggiekali 4 Jan 25

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living among mithraists is hard, huh. i know this isnt what you wanna hear, but Jesus had basically the same problems? And of course--as counter-intuitive as this maybe seems--your mithraist community there is scared to death of the Bible, i could offer some Quotes if you like, No son of man may die for another's sins, No one has ever gone up to heaven, Where I am going you cannot come, There is only One Immortal, etc, but do yourself a favor and be very selective how you use them ok

i don't struggle with them maybe bc i am mildly asperger's, or maybe bc i moved a lot growing up and don't identify with any particular location, or maybe i just detest religion, idk, but the point is kinda that if you don't want to find yourself in need of relocating, might be better to just overlook it. Yes, they are kinda desperate, but?


I live across the street from a Catholic Church. At last count, there are at least four churches in my town of 1700 people. When someone asks me what church I go to, I tell them that I'm an atheist. To be honest, I don't care what people think anymore.

I'm also probably one of maybe ten people (I'm being generous) that is a democrat here.

In my town of less than 2,000 I think that we have 8! Used to be at least 10 until about 2 years ago.. One has since been sold and is an antique shop now. Another had a takeover. The winning preacher had a couple of mentally "slow" older men living inside and was taking their benefits checks....what I heard from a good source anyway.

They may hide from you as closet Atheists but there are dozens of Atheists in Springfield and come the days after elections REAL NUMBERS of voters are published Green Libertarians and the blueREDS redBLUES duopoly single party ruling over you

@Larry68Feminist I have my town as Springfield, but I live in a small town close to it. I seriously doubt there are many, but it really doesn't matter to me since I keep to myself.

@kiramea such are the certainties of closet Atheism


No, I am lucky enough not living in the US. Nowhere els in the world have I come across this phenomena but in the US, not even in Islamic countries. They don't try to "force" their believes onto others.

I've lived in the US Bible Belt all my life and I don't recall anyone ever trying to "force" their beliefs on me. It's just that such a majority of people are believers that they just assume it's the friendly, and kind thing to do, to try to bring the outsider into the fold. All I've ever had to do is say no thanks.

@skado I live up near the Canadian border and bible-thumpers have tried to force their beliefs on me. They are shameless.

What kind of force did they use?

@skado "forcing their beliefs". Why do you find it necessary to challenge my statement? What is your agenda?

@skado I see you are a religious person. What are you selling?

Sorry, I thought you were engaging me in conversation.

@skado I have been to the US several times and come across people who got angry and threatening when I told them I do not believe in God. They tried to "convince" me that I was wrong in a very unpleasant manner, no friendliness there.

People like that do exist, but they’re not the only kind. There are religious people who you’d never know were religious, and there are non-religious people who are also jerks. People can be opinionated and rude about subjects other than religion; politics, for example. My experience has been that the nice folks outnumber the rude ones by a wide margin. I’m sorry you had bad experiences. I wish we could all learn not to be unkind to each orher.

That’s a very real, and very serious problem.

Maybe you were in a liberal muslim city but Atheists are beheaded in muslim countries and women also for daring to love who they want to love instead of some old dog who purchased her body for marriage

@Larry68Feminist You be surprised how few countries behead people for not believing. Your very good friends the Saudis do but most other Islamic countries don't. It is forbidden in the Quran no matter what anyone els tells you.

@Jolanta Indonesia Maylasia Singapore all CANE the slightest taboo violators....theocracies get away with great evils with tolerant neighbors looking askew

@Larry68Feminist I would not call it the slightest taboo by far. Perhaps a bit of canning in the western countries would be very beneficial.

@Jolanta teachers routinely hit students on back of their hands in schools and paddled butts 50 years ago....nuns remain infamous in parochial USA schools for their cruelty.... my 2 daughters were never "punished" and are both successful educators and professional women 44&25 both Atheists since birth.....I will ALWAYS condemn theocracy and violent faiths globally

@Jolanta I only edited out spelchek changes to my welchosen words....fuck spelchek built into my phone against my will

@Larry68Feminist I was punished at school frequently and mostly deserved it. Even today I feel ashamed about the way I treated some of my teachers.

@Jolanta thank you for your confession....I remember bad boys needing but not receiving punishment for their harrassment of me and a few others....I don't recall any bad girls....the evil women later in my life I did instant thought is how religion terrorizes children and how they act out thereafter against others....ultimately the they act out against themselves if they remain religious and never reason away from evil faiths


No, but I'll never forget letting my best friend talk me into going to a Catholic service with her.....what the hell??? wonder my dad let himself get excommunicated. 😂

It was my granddad who saw the light! 😂

High Mass Latin & genuflect cushion rails


I feel very lucky to live in New England, specifically the New Years Eve party, all hated drump, and aot the Randy Rainbow live show, a packed theater all hating drump! And people here Mind Their Own Business about religion, it is still considered very poor taste to bring it up.....


I live in NYC.. It's very diverse.. I've no problems with religious people here


Some poor kids, JW, came by my house just after Trump won. Big mistake.
I was in a bad mood already.
So, "knock,,knock".......
Me; stares blankly at the two minions standing at my door.
kids; We would like to speak to you about JW.
Me; How fucking old are you two to be telling me how to live my life? How many times do you think I've heard of your stupid religion?
What is the news you have that isn't some shit I haven't heard in the last sixty years?
Kids;...........can we go now?..............


Not in Australia but I understand USA can be a bit challenging.


I, too, live in Middle Tennessee. It is awkward being an atheist in the Bible Belt. Sometimes I just remain quiet about my non-belief, but when asked, I tell people honestly that I am an atheist. You are fortunate to have been raised in a non-religious family. I had to overcome years of brainwashing. Happily, I learned how to think in public school, and I applied the scientific method to religious doctrine. It failed the test, and I became convinced that religion is just a scam (always asking for money) based on a myth. I am happy to be free from religion at last, but I regret how I had been misled by my well-meaning, but misguided parents.

All the time asking for money? When I was in Catholic high school I said, "What! Ask the Vatican to open some of its underground vaults. You'll find billions and yet you're asking a kid for his quaters.

@Aristippus I was raised in the Moron (oops, Mormon) church, which has billions of dollars in stockpiled riches. Yet, they still make it mandatory for members to pay 10% of their income to the church, plus other "voluntary" offerings. This is why I lived in poverty as a young adult. I am happy to be free from that scam. 🙂

@BestWithoutGods Yeah, but if you play ball they know how to treat you well with support.


The Bible Belt equals the largest collection of hypocrites in the Country. Their is an equal amount of hypocrites up North, but not as bad as the South with is known for higher incarceration, drug abuse, and divorce and low education rates.

Trod Level 5 Jan 28, 2020

It's only three miles up the road from here to the nearest Taco Bell. I pass FOUR churches in that short distance. If that were reversed and there was ONE church and FOUR Taco Bells in that same distance, we'd think it was ridiculous to have so many Taco Bells so close together.

It's equally crazy to have that many churches but no one blinks an eye over it cuz Jesus.

My wife and I were on a motorcycle ride on back roads here in Tennessee. There was bout a mile stretch where I saw 5 churches, so I started counting them on the way back home. I was only about 50 miles from home. When I got over 100, I stopped counting. Why does no one see how ridiculous this is?

@Eazyduzzit Because everybody seems to feel the more Jesus, the merrier. This country has OD-ed on Jesus and they love it.

A more relevant comparison would be if there were 4 restaurants on the way to a church.

I live in the South and i can tell you why there are so many churches. The pastor at the main church has said something that offends people and they decided to build a new church to preach according to how they want to. I know of a church that was built because the previous church would not allow a family member to join the church and be a leader because he had been divorced. That's the kind of nonsense that spurs people to build 10 churches in a one mile stretch. They can't get along with others in the church they belong to so they just decide to start another one.


No I just go with it.
I think Paul--of whom I'm not otherwise a big fan--said somewhere to do that.
For instance, I'm a vegetarian, but if I'm invited to dine at someone's a house and they offer up hamburgers, I do not say, 'No thanks, I'm a vegetarian."
I eat it.
Same, for me, with religion. I find common ground on which to be agreeable, not get into a debate
What's the point?

For a few seconds, I was kind of baffled at you stating you're a vegetarian but will eat meat if offered, but then remembered that there's a name for that: semi-vegetarian. 🙂

incredibly enlightened of you storm. that is the same method used by the Buddha not to mention the Dalai Lama. we ALL are going to the same destination ... merely our paths differ. those who think they have lost direction need only follow the funnel to get back on track:

  1. seek truth (satyam bhaja)
  2. create order (kalpitam kuru)
  3. avoid discord (adharmam tyaja)

Seek happiness within (atmaneva atmana tustah)

As a vegetarian, I'll politely decline to eat meat if it's offered. I see no reason to do something I very much do not want to do just because someone else expects it.

@joeymf86 Then that's what I am...

@joeymf86 Not my point, but might I add even chimpanzees organize into hunting parties--rarely to be sure--to capture and consume small game.
That said, I fail to see how one's vegetarian status confers on one higher moral standing, or amounts to a superior dietary regimen, or in any way is "better" than any other lifestyle choice, EXCEPT TO the individual whose choice it is.
That, to me, also applies to one's opinions of anything else, including the existence or NON-existence of 'god.'

@JeffMesser I'm copying that down.
The Desiderata includes the words, "...speak your truth clearly and quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant...they too have their story." Very different--and arrogant to think THEY are dull and ignorant, not us...everything is relative--but along the same general lines.
I agree order and harmony opens up lines of communication, while conversely discord blocks communication and separates people along ideological or other lines.
If one's goal is to elevate himself or herself ABOVE others, discord will often be the result.
If one's goal is to find and establish a mood of commonality, order will follow.
THEN minds can be changed, attitudes adjusted.
Be careful, though; yours may be the mind thus changed, and it may be YOUR attitude adjusted.
As an agnostic, in fact, I'm always open to that possible eventuality.

@Storm1752 What are you talking about? All I did was comment about how I was confused for a little bit about you saying you were a vegetarian but also ate meat. My comment had nothing to do with religion, moral standings, or what lifestyle choice is better. You read way too much into my comment. lol

@joeymf86 I was responding to JeffMesser and his comments about Buddhist philosophy via the Dalai Lama.
Btw--I don't 'eat meat' 99.9% of the time, and it's VERY rare I'd be in that situation. I was simply using that as an example of what I do when presented with a tricky wicket like the one froggie posted. Not for everyone, and maybe not totally apropos. Just a comment.

@Storm1752 It's all good. You must have tagged me by mistake.

@joeymf86 I double-checked and you're right and I apologize. I DID go off on a tangent.
I hope my main point was conveyed, despite my ramblings.


I think we all struggle with them almost daily. I have a long time Christian friend that I've known since age 12 or so. He thinks my non-belief is a rebellion and just a phase. Talking to him is a pain as he often gets into what I call "preaching." He tells me "no, it is scripture." Regardless of my religious past I don't think god wrote a book or wants to talk to you...My friend tells me that "I know the truth." He in no way is referring to my now belief that gods are imaginary.

I might add that I no longer get caught up in the long winded arguments to prove god. I cut them off early. One argument believers have is that "life does not come from non-life." OK, smart boy. Tell me how your god made man from dirt.

When I'm preached at, I just ask for solid evidence. They usually point to the Bible, so I ask for evidence that the book is true. Their inability to provide evidence, and my ability to point out contradictions and false prophecies in the Bible, usually causes the preachers to back off. I do hope, however, that the seed of doubt I plant in them will grow and bear fruit someday.

@BestWithoutGods I have those same hopes and I often point to around 335 CE when the bible as we know it officially came into being. That puts the book a long way from Jesus and you can look closely and see how it was all made up, what was included and what was not included.

Then along comes some idiot who claims "if the bible said 2 plus 2 was 5 you should believe it." They are all ate up!


When I was younger I sometimes felt that discomfort, but now I either just nod politely and change the subject, or if they persist, I try to engage them in a rational discussion about it, and they usually get bored and end the conversation themselves. What I won't do is allow them to treat me as an inferior.

ps. Welcome to AgnosticDotCom!

skado Level 9 Jan 25, 2020

They know there are people that are non-religious.
They do this on purpose. I would excuse myself for a few minutes.


it's no less than what everyone expects here in OKC, Ok where we have a baptist church every 2 blocks (and that's really not even an exaggeration). I fought over and with it all for years. Now I just kinda look down on them as a lesser evolved group of humans.


Not a huge issue here in LA: a huge, diverse and international city. So many traditions and beliefs. YET, there is still an assumption that you belong, or believe, in some kind of faith or “spirituality.” Hence, many well-intentioned “interfaith” events at which I feel unwelcome, even for causes I generally endorse. Frustrating!


I spent some of my teenage years in Missouri. Had a friend in high school, his parents were so religious. He wasn't able to attend any school events. The only exception was football games. Cause he played in the band. When that was over, he had to go back home. Was to be in bed no later than 8pm nightly. Even on weekends and such. Couldn't come out to watch movies with us as he wasn't allowed to watch anything higher than a G rating. It was sad to see such a nice and charismatic person. Not get to experience any kind of social life. When we graduated, I lost contact with him. But I hope he got out of that situation. And got to experience some sort of social life.


When I read the bible it showed how stupid people are to believe the criss cross writtening in there.


I didn't start going to church until i was 17 years old. My parents didn't take me. I remember feeling the same when i was growing up and people talked about going to church also. They look at you like you're some sort of heathen and going to hell.

An idiot member of my extended family told her granny, who was catholic, not born again bullshit artist like she was, that she was going to burn in hell for her following the catholic ways. If I were allowed I would have flambed her religious A-Hole and told her a few things that would have shut her down. That would also have stopped me from ever seeing anyone in that part of the family 4eva.

But since I love my wife, I went with ignoring it. If we had no kids I might have chanced it.... that is nasty, but she was a piece of crap. You tell an undiagnosed Alzheimer's patient, (early days of dementia), she is going to hell. Wow,

But consider just saying I pray in myself, I do not verbalize it. My actions speak truth!


Most of my family is Christian. When they pray I am respectfully of their beliefs. They’ve learned not to ask me to pray now.


I grew up in southwest GA. My family never went to church on our own. We only went when my dad's sister or his friend invited us. I remember going to Sunday school a few times due to this and not liking it because I had to get dressed up and be around people I didn't know.

Now as an adult, I rarely get invited to church. When I am invited, I just pleasantly decline and change the subject. There was one time about 5 years ago I agreed because the "church" service was being held in a bar during morning hours, and I was extremely curious about it. During family gatherings, they will pray before eating. I just go with the flow. Normally, I'll just stare into space or making faces at the little kids who don't know to bow their heads during prayer.

Most of my immediate family know I'm atheist. Over time most of my coworkers have figured this out or I've told them, but some who don't know me still assume I'm Christian which can be annoying and awkward.


Well, out of six siblings who were all raised to be Mormon, three of us left religion. I find it incomvortable to go along with the pyaters when visitign with religious family members.

I have since moved to the Portland/Vancouver area, mostly because of the good public transit, but I also discovered that of any major metropolitan area, it has the largest number of persons who don't attend church... or at least the larger number who will admit they don't attend (any) church.. It doesn't mean that they all lack beliefs, but rather they just find organized religion to be lacking.


It’s easier here in the U.K....although living as I do in the most religious part - Northern Ireland, most others are either Catholic or Protestant, praying never happens prior to any meals with anyone I know. My friends all know I’m an atheist and religion or lack of it is never an issue, or topic of conversation. I sympathise with you living in such an oppressive and uncomfortable environment.


Most definitely! Sorry to hear your struggles and welcome to the community.


Living in the UK this is not much of a problem. There are the usual JW and on occasion the mormons knock on the door The jw don't come any more as i had a couple of local elders call and they got very upset when i asked them about there visiting the local prison the visit convicted jw abusers who reside in the local prison here. OH i asked them about the yorshire ripper who as become a jw that rally got them wound up

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